Tag Archives: Dominican Republic

Sample Saturday: Away From Home

This post is inspired by Booker Talk’s Sample Saturday: Around the World Post. I thought I’d do it while waiting for my computer to do things. Flipping it to books written by Antiguans and Barbudans (citizens and/or residents) set Away from Home (i.e. not set in Antigua and Barbuda). Fiction, obviously. I’m sure I can find three. Fingers crossed.

London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne – This is the story of Dante Brookes, a young man growing up in London in the late seventies and early eighties when sound systems ruled the party scene for young, Black British youth of Caribbean heritage. He navigates the loss of friends, police harassment and being a teenage father while forging a career as an MC. Dante stumbles into the acting profession and also becomes a writer. It is through these disparate experiences that he learns that the pen and mic at mightier than the sword.

I do think this is one of those books that should have gotten more notice than it did. I explained why in my review.

Verdict: Definitely check it out.

Considering Venus by D. Gisele Isaac – This explores the almost-unacknowledged issue of lesbianism among Caribbean women and adds to it the complication of a heterosexual perspective.  It asks, “What happens when girlfriends becomes more than friends?”

Though the characters visit Antigua, the book, if I’m remembering correctly, is primarily set in the US (the Northeast US, I believe) where the author was resident at the time.

Verdict: Breaking taboos way ahead of the curve (it came out in the late 1990s); a timely classic. Get it.

Unburnable by Marie Elena John – Haunted by scandal and secrets, Lillian Baptiste fled Dominica when she was fourteen after discovering she was the daughter of Iris, the half-crazy woman whose life was told of in chanté mas songs sung during Carnival—songs about a village on a mountaintop littered with secrets, masquerades that supposedly fly and wreak havoc, and a man who suddenly and mysteriously dropped dead. After twenty years away, Lillian returns to her native island to face the demons of her past.

Of course, there are a fair number of Antiguans who will say Dominica (the French/English Caribbean republic – not the Spanish country that takes up half of Hispaniola) doesn’t count, so intertwined are our families, but it is technically Away.

Verdict: A Hurston Wright Legacy Award nominee and a really good read spanning generations.

That’s my three. I started scrolling through the Antigua and Barbuda Fiction List and hit three books I’d read and liked that were set Away before even getting to Jamaica Kincaid (take your pick, Lucy – NY or See Now Then – Vermont), or having to pull the books with only a few scenes Away (like my own Dancing Nude in the Moonlight – Dominican Republic), or hit the children’s book (Rachel Collis’ Emerald Isle of Adventure says it’s set in Montserrat right there in the title).

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight 10th Anniversary Edition and Other Writings, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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A Message from Jouvay Ayiti

I’ve blogged on my author blog about the situation concerning the expulsion of Haitian residents in the Dominican Republic. I decided to post this email from Jouvay Ayiti here on the Wadadli Pen Blog where in addition to spotlighting the Wadadli Pen programme and the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, I’ve made a habit of sharing artistic activities and action, particularly where young people are involved. This particular action concerns the use of the arts by young Caribbeans in response to/protest against the treatment of the Haitians by the Dominican government. Here’s the message in full:

On Emancipation Day, August 1st 2015, Jouvay Ayiti took to the streets of Port of Spain in Mas Action (the conscious use of traditional mas/querade in social action and consciousness-raising) to dance our disapproval at the Dominican Republic’s ongoing mistreatment of Dominicans of Haitian heritage. This action continues our previous Mas Action stagings on July 3rd 2015, and November 6th 2013 when this current crisis first reared its ugly head.

These images serve as an introduction to the ways in which our collective continues to utilise the mas outside of carnival to:

•give voice to issues that affect regional freedom, and development;


•pay especial attention to Haiti who we recognise as central to Caribbean selfhood; and

•in light of the above, amplify the current goings on in the DR – by situating in the streets, the public domain – this outrage, which as a region we not have adequately ventilated.

Moreover, through a collaboration with our sister collective in Canada, we have also successfully supported a Toronto Mas Action on the same day (August 1st 2015), which was presented at the opening of CARIBANA festival’s street procession. As a complementary action we have commenced a ‘people’s embargo’ (at both sites) in which we have invited all our participants and the wider public to boycott all products and services from the Dominican Republic. Participants in our mas, like our audiences, have been encouraged to identify DR products, and have been working assiduously at compiling a more comprehensive list, which we will publish soon.


… is REAL Jouvay!

F: http://www.facebook.com/jouvayayiti

T: http://www.twitter.com/jouvayayiti (@jouvayayiti)

I: http://www.instagram.com/jouvayayiti


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